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Food Processing Company fined $35,000 for Ontario Water Resources Act Violation

Court Bulletin

Food Processing Company fined $35,000 for Ontario Water Resources Act Violation

Convicted - Highbury Canco Corporation

Court Location - Windsor

Description of Offence - The conviction relates topermitting the discharge of a material into the Selkirk Drain which may impair the quality of the water.

Date of Offence - During the period on or about November 19, 2018.

Date of Conviction - January 21, 2019

Penalty Imposed - Highbury Canco Corporation was convicted of one offence under the Ontario Water Resources Act and was fined $35,000 plus a victim fine surcharge of $8,750 and was given sixty days to pay the fine.

Background - 

  • Highbury Canco Corporation (Highbury) is located in Leamington and specializes in processing and canning tomato-based products including sauces, soups and salsa. 
  • Highbury owns two private sewage lines. One line collects storm/non-contact cooling water that discharges to the Selkirk Drain. The other line collects the waste process waters, including liquid tomato waste, which accumulates in a separate sewer line that goes to the Leamington Pollution Control Centre for treatment before eventual discharge to Lake Erie.
  • On November 19, 2018, a municipal employee observed that the waters in the Selkirk Drain appeared red in colour.  Municipal inspectors were dispatched to investigate the source and traced it to the Highbury facility.  They confirmed that a spill of tomato-based soup inside the plant had entered a floor drain, which was connected to the storm water line and therefore discharged to the Selkirk Drain.
  • Highbury cooperated with the municipal inspectors and reported the event to the ministry's Spills Action Centre. Shortly after discovering the source of the discharge, Highbury disconnected the floor drain and redirected the waste tomato product to the sanitary sewer line.  Highbury has since taken additional remedial steps to prevent similar events from occurring in the future.
  • The ministry's Investigations and Enforcement Branch investigated and laid charges resulting in one conviction.

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